Four ways to help your child with back-to-school anxiety

Four ways to help your child with back-to-school anxiety

Four ways to help your child with back-to-school anxiety

With the COVID-19 school lockdown expected to be lifted in the first week of September as per the government announcement, many students would be happy, but some might experience social anxiety about the possibility of going back to school.

This social anxiety can be linked to the school's expectations and students' fear of not performing well in the given circumstances which will be different than before. It could also be linked to the thought of facing people after the pandemic rather than getting excited about it. The idea of going back to school might also give students an adrenalin rush. A speedy heartbeat and more oxygen flow through blood and brain due to the hidden excitement and fear can give child anxiety, which he may not be able to handle well.

Social anxiety is terrible, but it is not dangerous or life-threatening, so the symptoms that may occur in children acting silly, laughing, or shouting at home after hearing that they might return school soon.

To overcome the situation, the United Nations suggests, "You can make him feel at ease by having an open conversation about what's worrying him and letting him know that it's natural to feel anxious."

Children have been learning at home for months and at their own pace now. Some students have also made peace with the routine they have been following and will show reluctance in getting back to school and the previous method.

However, the psychologists suggest some strategies to help overcome social anxiety in children after COVID-19.

Calm them down

Four ways to help your child with back-to-school anxiety

Children have been home in their comfort zone and feeling okay in their shell. What they do not realize at this point is that their body is under stress. If parents can use calming strategies such as mind and breathing exercises, it will help them overcome their depression, lethargy, and confusion. Some mobile applications such as Smiling Mind (iOS and Android) or Breathing Bubbles (Android only) help control your breathing.

Smaller experiences of social success

Four ways to help your child with back-to-school anxiety

Many people use avoidance techniques to overcome anxiety, which increases its ten folds. For example, many students avoid raising their hands to answer a question or avoid attending school to not get into any social situation. But psychologists say that by doing this, these students internalize the anxiety, suggesting that the best way to overcome is to face it.

At this point, the parents should encourage children to indulge in small experiences of social success – share their point of view with one person, make them communicate with someone they know – so slowly they learn to feel safe in the social interaction.

It's okay to feel overwhelmed.

Four ways to help your child with back-to-school anxiety

Your child might be going through physical and mental strain, and there is a possibility that they might not express it in front of you. Some parents get anxious while seeing a child behaving restlessly or not expressing him/herself. In this situation, assuring the child that this overwhelming situation is normal is especially essential rather than getting agitated by your child's irregular behavior or mood. United Nations says that explaining a child that the virus has nothing to do with what someone looks like, where they are from, or what language they speak. If they fear being called names or getting at school, they should be urged to tell a reliable adult. Keep reminding your children that he/she deserves to be safe at school and online.

Having an honest dialogue with your child

Four ways to help your child with back-to-school anxiety

It would help if you involved your child in free and honest discussions about how to stay safe online and in the school. Have an honest dialogue with your child on how the situation is and how everyone has to deal with it differently. Give them the courage to talk about the problems and tell them that they are not alone. Give them valuable and kind support through open dialogue and be aware that discriminatory or inappropriate communication is never acceptable.

Soon when the schools would re-open, parents will face challenges and unexpected situations. Be alert if you notice your child becoming withdrawn or upset while re-joining school, or using their phone more or less than usual, it could be a sign that they are not coping well in school. In that situation, repeat the above 4 points suggested.

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